Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Happy Birthday Madame Chapeau

Beaty, Andrea (Author)
Roberts, David (Illustrator)
Abrams 2014. 32 pages
First published: 2014
ISBN: 9781419712197 (hardcover)
9781613126813 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, language conventions, point of view, setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

“In a three-story house with a shop down below,/lived the world’s finest hat maker, Madame Chapeau.” Thus begins the story of a shy, lonely milliner who crafts one-of-a-kind hats perfectly suited to each of her customers. Most nights, Madame dines alone. But once a year, on her birthday, she dons her favourite bonnet and treats herself to a lavish dinner at Chez Snooty-Patoot. This time though, a crow flies off with her hat, and as she chases after it, through the streets of Paris, admiring onlookers offer replacements – derby, fez, sombrero, Stetson. Who will come to her rescue?

Told through rhyme, the story bounces along to its tender conclusion, when a little girl offers Madame a hat “knitted with love and [her] best birthday wish” as well as long-term companionship.

The quirky mixed media illustrations capture, in razor-sharp detail, an extraordinary assortment of styles and hats from a variety of professions and countries.

Paying tribute to some of the more celebrated hats – Charlie Chaplin’s famous derby, Marcel Marceau’s crumpled top hat – this book offers a visual tour of fashion and leaves readers with a heart-warming message about community and friendship.

  •  

    Describe and discuss the hats the characters are wearing on the title page. What kinds of hats do you wear? Do you have a favourite?

  •  

    Create a class Hat Dictionary. Add a description and illustration for each type of hat in the story. Take inspiration from the illustrations and add in some imaginary hats.

  •  

    Notice the French words in the story and pictures. Use context, prior knowledge and clues in the illustrations to infer their meanings. Explain your thinking.

  •  

    What might your own birthday hat look like? What would you call it? Gather materials from the classroom and from home, and make your own birthday hat. Explain your design choices to classmates.

  •  

    Describe and discuss the hats the characters are wearing on the title page. Look up the names of these hats in a picture dictionary or teacher-selected website. Discuss the kinds of hats you wear. Do you have a favourite?

  •  

    On the first page, discuss the houses, shops and people who could be living there. How is the setting similar or different from where you live?

  •  Use a graphic organizer to sequence the story.
  •  

    Research millinery and hat making. What materials, tools and equipment are needed? What qualities would be required for Madame Chapeau to become the world’s finest hat maker?

  •  

    The story is inspired by real-life fashion editor, Isabella Blow – a hat-lover like Madame Chapeau. Think about celebrities, professionals and athletes. Describe the hats they wear and the purpose they serve.

  •  

    Form expert groups for a jigsaw activity. Research one of the four hat designers mentioned in the artist’s note. Take notes on that designer and share them with your jigsaw group.

  •  

    Choose a form of multimedia (e.g. a digital poster) to share your learning about all these designers. As a team, research one additional designer who you agree is worthy of representing cool hats for your generation!

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • To use creativity
  • Media Literacy
  • Personal and Career Planning
  • Visual Arts